Having stayed in other HandPicked Hotels, we were very excited about our stay at Brandshatch Place. You can hear the nearby race track which was a little disappointing and some investment in improved windows may aid the reduction in this noise; however, to be honest, we didn't find it too overwhelming.
During our stay we had two major issues; firstly relating to the spa facilities and secondly in relation to dinner... which is a real pity as we booked this hotel as it had a spa and we find the Dinner, Bed and breakfast package to be very good value and the dining experience to be ordinarily very good within this chain of hotel.
The spa, gym, pool and changing rooms appear to be incredibly dated and compare dreadfully to other hotels in the chain; Rookery Hall for instance is superb. We were left bitterly disappointed with this facility and spent very little time in the spa resulting in an afternoon watching the television in our room.
Our room was fine; it wasn't luxury and nor was it up to the standard we had experienced in other hotels in the chain. There were obvious signs of 'wear and tear'... scuff marks on walls and skirting, stains on curtains and grouting in the bathroom and limescale around the shower head. Although none of these things are individually hugely offensive, I think combined show that the hotel could do with a little TLC. The same could be said of the hallways, particularly the route to the spa and leisure facilities from the hotel; this appeared to be more like a staff short-cut rather than a guest thoroughfare and I think immediately dampens any expectations of the hotel.
The other disappointing feature we encountered was dinner, which became a little laughable. I don't class myself as being particularly demanding or high maintenance, but I expect service to be of a certain level, and this unfortunately wasn't the case here. With dinner booked for 8.30pm, we arrive in the bar early for pre-dinner drinks and let staff know we had arrived. We had drinks in the room adjacant to the bar where it appeared guests were congregating and it had to be one of the most lifeless rooms I have ever been in. There was no atmosphere and almost silence as everyone appeared conscious that we could all hear each other's conversations. A little background music, and possibly the absence of staff preparing other adjacant rooms for a function and instead focussing on their attending guests may have helped.
With our dinner reservation approaching and no sign of a menu being offered I asked if we could see one... twice. On finally receiving the menu we were given very little explanation (which would have been helpful as there were two menus and we were on a Dinner package so we would have liked to have known our options) and only discovered the unavailability of certain items due to overhearing other people (in the very unatmospheric and quiet room) trying to order these things... it sounded like we were not the only ones who were not given any information about the menu.
The canapes we were offered were dreadful... again, compared to experiences elsewhere these appeared to be a last minute afterthought or left-overs from a function. Desperately disappointing.
At 8.45 we decided we would go and ask to be seated as we had not been approached (15 minutes after our reservation) and it was clear to see that the unprofessional (or untrained) manner of staff was still apparent. Our table wasn't fully cleaned and we had to ask for a wine list as well as ask a number of questions about the menu. At one point we had two waiters at our table, one trying to pour wine and getting all of his words muddled up and the other trying to write down our order which became a painstakingly overcomplicated process.
To be honest, our food wasn't too bad... it was better than I expected considering the issues we had encountered with the service. To top it all, at the end of our meal we asked for two small glasses of wine... two large glasses arrived to which I pointed out we only asked for two small glasses... I was then informed that he had already poured them and misconstrued that I had an issue with the glassware and not the size of the wine portion. This was cleared up by me accepting the drinks but informing him we would only be paying for two small glasses... I think this bypassed his intelligence but needless to say we were only charged for what we ordered and was further evidence of some sort of service training being required.
The hotel is quite handily placed for a trip to BlueWater but I have to say we were bitterly disappointed with our stay overall. The hotel lacked atmosphere and there appeared to be a real lack of professionalism amongst the staff, and highlighted huge training needs in my opinion. (even the receptionist on check-out didn't respond or attempt to find out more as we responded to her parting question of whether we had a nice time). Having been personally, and known others who have attended other HandPicked hotels, the Branshatch Place Hotel and Spa really didn't come up to scratch.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This sophisticated Georgian mansion, built in 1806, is the perfect venue for weddings as well as meetings, events and private dining. Thirty eight beautifully furnished rooms offer all the latest modern amenities - and when you have finished resting, you are welcome to drop in at the Health Club and Spa, a great place to work out, relax or unwind. Despite its rural location, it is within easy reach of major motorways and London, as well as Gatwick and Heathrow airports, the south coast and the Channel Tunnel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Brandshatch Place Fawkham
- Hotel Brandshatch Place
- Brand Hatch Hotel Place
- Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa Kent/Fawkham